Fort Lauderdale Deals Another Blow to Climate Litigation Campaign

From Energy in Depth

June 4, 2019 | Erin Mundahl

It’s a bright day for Fort Lauderdale. Despite a full-court press by climate activists, city officials have decided not to pursue a climate liability lawsuit. This is a blow for climate activists, who are hoping to expand their litigation campaign into Florida.

Over the past six months, lawyers and environmental groups have devoted considerable time and effort to persuading cities in the Sunshine State to join their quixotic climate litigation campaign. Despite their efforts, Fort Lauderdale was not convinced.

EarthRights International hides behind NGO to lobby city officials.

Released emails show that EarthRights International, the Rockefeller-funded organization representing the City and County of Boulder and San Miguel County in their climate change lawsuit, and the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (IGSD) coordinated to lobby Fort Lauderdale city officials throughout 2018.

In June, Mayor Dean Trantalis and his chief of staff, Scott Wyman, received emails from a Miami Beach lobbyist, Seth Platt. Platt was hired to represent IGSD, which runs the Center for Climate Integrity, a project that “supports meritorious climate cases aimed at holding fossil fuel companies and other climate polluters liable for the damages they have caused.” The emails show that Platt was eager to introduce Trantalis and Wyman to EarthRights International (ERI) and their agent, Jorge Musuli, who Platt said was working with the City of Miami to file a climate nuisance lawsuit:

“I have invited Jorge Mursuli to the meeting as his group, [ERI], is working with the City of Miami to file a lawsuit. We are trying to collaborate on advocacy in Broward.”

By his second email, Platt abandoned all mentions IGSD, the group he was actually hired by, and focused his attention on his mission to establish a meeting between ERI and city officials.

“It makes sense that our lead counsel at Earthrights comes see you and your team to best discuss potential strategy.”

Sher Edling joins EarthRights International in their pursuit

In a surprising twist of fate, ERI added another plaintiffs’ attorney firm involved in climate litigation, Sher Edling, as co-counsel in their pursuit of the city. By July, Seth Platt had arranged for Vic Sher and Matt Edling, who represent more than a dozen cities in climate cases, to join ERI for a meeting with Fort Lauderdale City Attorney Alain Boileau. After the meeting, Boileau followed up with the mayor, telling his boss about the “positive meeting” he had had with Sher, Edling, Marco Simons (general counsel for ERI), and Mursuli, all thanks to Platt.

Records show that Platt conducted all of these meetings on behalf of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development – not ERI. When pressed on this by local reporters, Platt did not respond.

IGSD finds itself at the center of the climate litigation campaign…. again

Platt’s lobbying affiliation highlights the well-coordinated network of climate activism aimed at taking down fossil fuels by any means necessary. IGSD is a key player in a carefully organized media campaign that rehashes a stale, repeatedly debunked story for the sake of silencing dissent . Richard Wiles, who serves as the ringleader for their climate litigation campaign, produced the IGSD-funded podcast Drilled and published Climate Liability News, an activist site designed to promote climate litigation.

ERI fails to impress the City Commission

In October ERI General Counsel Marco Simons gave a presentation to Trantalis and the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. The meeting was a full court press that emphasized how climate change could hurt city finances and how wealthy anti-fossil fuel foundations were willing to foot the bill for the lawsuit. Simons explained their strategy during the pitch:

“At the litigation stage it would be necessary to join together with co-counsel from private firms. They would be interested in pursuing this on a contingency fee-basis… And it would be a combination of our pro-bono representation and a private firm, contingent fee representation, again with no up-front cost to the city and that’s the model that’s been done in all of these cases so far.”

Thankfully, Fort Lauderdale decided to resist the pressure. Despite the focus Simons put on how the lawsuit could financially benefit the city, it would tie the city up in litigation for months or years, taking attention away from much needed resiliency projects. So far, none of the plaintiffs – or the cities – pursuing climate litigation across the country have seen a dime. Meanwhile, the major green donors financing the pro bono legal work are using the lawsuits to promote their own climate agenda, both in the courtroom and the court of public opinion.

Full Article here.

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June 22, 2019 10:34 am

Here in the UK it is fascinating to watch the way the USA leaps to slimy lawyers to press their disreputable agenda. To me it smacks of the similar agenda pursued by the Nazi party in the 1930s Germany; albeit it with far more sophistication.
The USA never experienced the turmoils in Germany during that period ; so it is understandable that most americans cannot recognise what is going on.

There is little difference to me between beating people up by financial threats or by fists.
The objective is the same. The only difference being the expensive suits rather than Black shirts.

As for these so claimed pro bono attorneys: – pull the other leg.

Reply to  Alasdair
June 22, 2019 7:40 pm

We have our Black Shirt, Jack Booted Thugs as well.
Inappropriately named Anti-Fascist.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Rotor
June 22, 2019 8:03 pm

They are just using “1984” as a publication manual. War is peace, Freedom is slavery, . . .

June 22, 2019 10:41 am

Now it’s my turn… I’m fairly certain I can convince the city to build a monorail.

Joel O'Bryan
June 22, 2019 11:20 am

All just another day for the Greenslime and their working for billionaires and multi-milloniaires deeply invested in wind and solar. For those Green schemes to work the Slimers long ago realized they had to take-down affordable, abundant fossil fuel-derived energy using every tool they could, ethical or otherwise.

Climate change activism practiced by the likes of ERI General Counsel Marco Simons and IGSD’s Platt is not about Climate at all of course. For the law firms, its about the hope of a Big Tobacco-style pay-out where they get 40% or more of a multi-billion dollar award as attorney fees. For the Green-slimers themselves, it’s about destroying affordable energy for the middle class and replacing it with their renewable energy schemes as a stealth tax on the middle class of hundreds of billions of dollars via much higher electric bills with hidden fees and cost, plus the crony capitalism aspect of federal PTCs and other taxpayer funded subsidies.

No, nothing to do with climate. It’s all about power and money for a few at the expense of the devastated middle class.

June 22, 2019 11:21 am

Ok, I am largely done with what should end “global warming” once and for all. Since I am not a native speaker it would be nice if there were volunteers proofreading it. So let us consider this a “soft opening” of a provisional version..

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Leitwolf
June 22, 2019 1:04 pm

Are you going to post this in every thread? Please don’t.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
June 22, 2019 4:10 pm

LOL .. the kind of ignorance I was expecting

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Leitwolf
June 28, 2019 6:40 pm

It’s ignorant to expect you not to post off-topic garbage in every thread. You must have been looking in the mirror.

Reply to  Leitwolf
June 23, 2019 9:35 am

Why would you waste that much time on climate change unless you were getting paid get a hobby.

Tom Halla
June 22, 2019 11:28 am

The industries that the green blob are suing in these cases should file a countersuit under either civil RICO or these cases involving cities, the Civil Rights Act of 1871 (The KKK Act). Either has enough teeth to affect even the foundations and wealthy greens funding these operations.

June 22, 2019 11:32 am

The liberal politicians in Broward County, Florida are still trying to recover from their gross incompetence before, during and after the Parkland school shooting.

Reply to  Edwin
June 22, 2019 8:10 pm

Not to mention the Election Fraud the state allows them to perpetuate on Floridians every election cycle.

Mike Bryant
June 22, 2019 11:34 am

Not even one of the slimeballs pushing the catastrophic climate change nonsense believes it. It’s all for money and/or power. Congratulations to Fort Lauderdale for standing up to the scum sucking bottom dwellers. I’m holding back here… couldn’t post what I’d really like to say.

June 22, 2019 11:46 am

My .02….. if these suits ever get past state jurisdiction they’ll die. If a state somehow wins one it will be their demise as no one producing/using fossil fuels will do business there.

Reply to  markl
June 22, 2019 12:20 pm

The temptation for a legislator is to look at the ‘Big Petroleum’ lawsuits the same as the ‘Big Tobacco’ lawsuits. Those were mostly a source of OPM which local and state governments misspent. link

The thing is, the tobacco companies had about zero bargaining power. Nobody actually needs tobacco. Oil, on the other hand …

It sounds to me like the folks in Fort Lauderdale correctly concluded that suing the oil companies would not be a walk in the park and would waste their time and attention for many years to come. ‘Big Oil’ is not remotely the same as ‘Big Tobacco’.

June 22, 2019 12:56 pm

Once again the definition of a promotion:
“In the beginning, the promoter has the vision and the public has the money.
At the end of the promotion, the promoter has the money and the public has the vision.”

June 23, 2019 12:15 am

The big problem for sceptics has always been that there has been no money in being a sceptic.

So, in a sense these law suits are good news … because suddenly the big Oil Corps who have been paying the greenmail that just kept the Climate Cult growing and growing, will be realising that they could do with some actual science to help defend themselves against the Climate Cult that they were largely responsible for creating.

June 23, 2019 12:36 am

The appropriate response to anyone who says “climate polluter” is to laugh with utter abandon. Just let it all out. Politely humoring the silly ideas of silly people only encourages them to take themselves seriously. Your mockery is a gift to them; inviting them to stop ranting like the crazy homeless guy shouting Biblical apocalypses at random pedestrians. But if you simply want to toy with them, ask what “climate pollution” is. Like a dissertation on organic food or essential oils it should prove a bewildering mix of the irrational and the incomprehensible. A fun time to be had by all.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  stinkerp
June 23, 2019 8:55 am

The same could be said for “global climate” and “carbon pollution”. These people just have no idea what they are talking about.

June 23, 2019 5:20 am

I’m going to re-work the Monorail song to feature a Cable Car on Mt Wellington in Hobart Tasmania. We something to shift the intransigent Green City Council!

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